I suspect that all couples have their road blocks, their little – or big – habits that drive the other person crazy. We’ve both done a lot of work, I think, on letting go of the really little things. Sometimes Turtle will leave the wet sponge in the sink, and I’ve mostly stopped saying anything about it; it’s easier to move the stupid sponge than to have a conversation about it. Sometimes I just rearrange things so that they *look* cleaner/neater instead of actually putting them away, and Turtle has just informed me that this is the thing she has stopped bringing up to me. Pick your battles, right?
I guess I sort of thought that once you picked your battles and stopped picking other battles, you just lived happily ever after! Of course that’s how it works, right? So I was sort of surprised when the living room takeover occurred.
Turtle is currently unemployed, which is not to say she’s not busy. She is finishing moving us in, which means washing walls and stoves and finally going through piles of paperwork we have lying around. She is taking care of our beasts, which sometimes means feeding them but more often means providing them with a warm body to lie on. She is making a mess of the living room.
(Just for the record: I don’t write things here that are new to her, or passive aggressive… she won’t find out about my frustration with our living room situation through my blog. Actually what happened is that I said, “I don’t know what to write about,” and she said, “How about how there’s no room for you in the living room?” True story.)
We have three seating areas – two chair and the couch – and one place for the dog. Currently, Turtle has an enormous pile of clean, folded laundry (which she did!) on one chair, a stack of papers and a bicycle helmet on the couch, and a pile of paperwork on the TV table. And by currently I mean in general… I actually made her put the couch stuff away before bed.
The point of this all is that there has been a living room takeover, and I am no longer welcomed there. Sort of. Often, Turtle says, “Come sit with me in here!” but I look around and there’s nowhere to go!
The bigger point of all of this is that there are new battles coming up ALL THE TIME. They are not big battles, and really they don’t have to be the biggest deal ever, or even a medium sized deal. They can just be a small deal, even the kind that you decide to wait to talk about until after you wake up the next morning. Even the kind that you can joke about and call The Livingroom Takeover.
I think an important part about picking your little battles is learning that dance of the process, learning when to bring something up and how to bring it up in a way that works, that doesn’t make the other person defensive. I think I actually did a good job on this one: a few days ago I said, “I feel like there’s no space for me in the living room.” And while she’s still figuring out how to see that, how to adjust her filter to see what I see, and it’s certainly not a welcoming space for me yet, she’s working on it. And in the meantime, the dining room is quite comfortable.
What are your big house battles, and how do you deal with them? With roommates I used to just stew… anyone else? What are your awful house habits, and are they as awesome as mine are – making the house look magically cleaner? You have to admit that’s a pretty awesome awful habit. Let’s call them House Superpowers instead.